Chapter 2: The use of risk assessment in environmental management
This chapter examines the role of risk assessment and management in environmental management. The use of risk assessment by governments and regulators in policy and regulatory decisions is discussed, as is the use of the tool by European industry. The chapter aims to outline the major ways in which risk assessment is used and gives specific examples of such use in Europe. The examples highlight some of the difficulties involved in the use of risk assessment and the subtle differences that arise in different EU states.
More discussion of the benefits of, and pitfalls associated with the use of risk assessment and management as an environmental management tool is contained in Chapter 9.
Risk assessment and management approaches to environmental issues are increasingly being used at all levels of policy and regulation. The techniques have a wide range of application, including;
ERA has traditionally been a function of policy and regulatory agencies and most development has taken place in these fields. ERA is becoming more common in industry partly as a result of the use of ERA in regulation.
ERA is used in industry in the following;
Although risk assessment and management have and will continue to become increasingly important environmental management tools, it is important to look at what the techniques can actually achieve and equally as importantly, what they cannot.
2.3.1 Good Points
The techniques have been criticised for a number of reasons, some of which are not real criticisms of the techniques but are related to the philosophical basis of carrying out such assessments in the first place. The dumping of the Brent Spar is one such example.
Criticisms focusing on the use of the techniques include;
Reference list for this chapter
For references, please go to www.eea.europa.eu/soer or scan the QR code.
This briefing is part of the EEA's report The European Environment - State and Outlook 2015. The EEA is an official agency of the EU, tasked with providing information on Europe’s environment.
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